UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Orthopedics

Title: Policeman's Heel

Keywords: policeman, heel, contusion (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/29/2015 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 7/18/2024)
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Policeman's Heel:

When patient's present complaining of heel pain we often think immediately of plantar fascititis,and heel spurs. If they jumped and landed on the heel with are concerned for calcaneal fracture.  However, a policeman's heel can occur from repetitive bounding of the heel or from landing on it as in a fall or jump.

Policeman's heel has been descirbed as a plantar calcaneal bursitis, inflammation of the sack of fluid (bursa) under the heel bone, or a contusion of the heel bone due to flattening and displacement of the heel fat pad, which leaves a thinner protective layer allowing the bone to get bruised.

Regardless of cause this responds well to NSAIDs, limiting weight bearing, or taping the foot. If the repetitive activity is not reduced this can easily become a chronic cause of heel pain.  A short video showing how to tape the foot can be found at https://youtu.be/nQtkwfJrhXo